Is Your Home Buying Checklist Up to Par?
We’re currently in the midst of two major events: the Masters Tournament and home buying season. I’ve always had a moderate interest in golf and after buying my first home this past fall I’ve taken quite the interest in real estate. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my home buying endeavor, it’s that spring is definitely buying season. So if you’re in the market for a new house, follow these tips to make sure your home buying checklist is up to par.
Get your finances in order. Before you even start looking, request a credit report and make sure everything is accurate. If you spot a mistake… fix it! Collect everything you’ll need for your loan officer, including bank statements, pay stubs, and tax returns. Do you have money saved for a down payment? Many experts suggest you put down at least 20% of the home’s purchase price.
Set a budget. A mortgage is the obvious expense here, but don’t forget to factor in property taxes, association fees, utilities, etc. Find out what you can afford without straining your budget.
Research mortgages. You may qualify for a special loan such as a first-time homebuyers, Veterans Affairs, or a Community Contributors loan as offered by the Credit Union. Also, don’t forget to get preapproved… it will help you stand out from other buyers when placing your offer.
Research neighborhoods. How are the neighbors? Schools? Taxes? Know the area before you really start looking. This can avoid letdowns and give you a realistic idea of what you can expect to afford.
Have a shopping list. What are your must-haves? Are you willing to sacrifice a third bedroom for an updated kitchen? Be prepared to make these tough decisions. Realistically, most people don’t end up buying their absolute perfect dream house.
Find an agent. In today’s world, with online real estate sites, home buying may seem easy, but a real estate agent earns their money after you buy the home. With all the negotiating and paperwork that goes on behind the scenes, a good agent can be crucial. Ask around, and find somebody you trust.
The spring home buying season is indeed here which means a lot of new houses will be hitting the market. It also means there will be a lot of competition out there looking at the same houses. That makes it critical that you’re checklist is in order to give you an edge on other buyers.